With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and Spotify we define ourselves. Whether we want to admit it or not, people judge and base their opinions of who we are on social media. It’s not something that only creepy girls do to potential love interests, but something that happens without even realizing we are doing it. The daily scroll through your news feed where you stumble across a high school acquaintance’s Facebook status that reads, “Guess who just got a new promotion, this girl.” We all know someone like this or maybe have even considered posting a similar message so everyone can see it. Do we need validation from that one guy you had, History of American Journalism with, or that girl we met through a friend of a friend? Apparently, in today’s culture we do.
Branding ourselves has gone past trying to impress our future employers through cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. Branding ourselves is taken to the point where we post pictures of our trendy and overpriced coffees. A friend of mine told me once that she likes to walk around with a Starbucks coffee in her hand because it gives off the “working girl” vibe. As ludicrous as I thought that statement was initially, I realized that a lot of people do the same and trendy coffee is just the tip of the iceberg.
Branding ourselves starts at a young age. Take it back to the days when boys had frosted tips and girls wore pre-wrap around their necks. I would buy Abercrombie baby tees that simply said, “A and F” with that stupid moose somewhere and I wasn’t alone. The shirt had no appeal but the logo, I was a walking billboard saying that this store is a part of me. Today, we have thankfully put the ill-fitting baby tees to rest, but we still brand ourselves through clothes. I love it when I see vintage rock band shirts on girls who are in their 20’s. I know you don’t listen to the Stones on the regular, nor do I. However, the girl wearing the shirt is probably thinking, this shirt says I like the classics and don’t listen to mainstream music.
There is a fine line between individual expression and trying to create an image of yourself. Social media teeters on that line. Social media propels branding our identity to an entirely different level because we don’t need to see someone or have an actual interaction with them to see what they have been up to. With every social media extension becoming more intertwined with one another, we find out more details about someone. For example, Spotify tells us what music we listen too. There is a private session option so people can’t see our “guilty pleasures.” Why should we care if people know what music we are listening too? Well the answer is because we recognize these little details.
Vine in a nutshell is people trying to get his or her 15 minutes of fame. There are people out there who continuously produce funny vines, and go to ridiculous lengths to get likes. We vine videos we think are funny in hopes of getting a reaction out of others. For a period of time #Doitforthevine was trending. This is only proves how stupid and attention hungry people really are, AKA the girl who slapped a cop in the face. Is there any benefit to this girl besides getting likes? Is the possibility of getting arrested worth social media fame?
The original social media site that although we despise at times, we check daily, Facebook is still the master of branding ourselves. Seldom do I post statuses, the majority of the time spent on Facebook is to look/upload pictures. Occasionally I will share a thought-provoking article or SNL skit that I only find funny. Generally speaking though our Facebook page is monitored by ourselves to make sure an unflattering photo isn’t added of us or something inappropriate isn’t written on our wall.
The saying you should never judge a book by its cover, goes out the window when it comes to social media. We are doing just that, judging people based on what we see on the internet. For the first time I will say, generally speaking, men have it right when it comes to how often they engage in using Facebook.
Leave the computer screen, have a human interaction and then you can judge someone. (Let’s be real people will make judgments about each other, let’s just do it based on an actual encounter and not a lengthy Facebook status or Spotify playlist.)